The Life of Kate Chopin Compared to the Life of Edna Potilier

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The events of Kate Chopin's life strongly influence the feminist traits of Edna Pontilier, the main character in her novel The Awakening. Kate Chopin is known for her literary works that exemplify culture in New Orleans, Louisiana, and of women's struggles for freedom. Pontilier also demonstrates a woman's struggle in the 1800's and their search for a better and more independent future. The lives of Kate Chopin and Edna Pontilier are similar in their feminist views and strong urge for a free and independent life. Kate Chopin was raised under the influence of strong, independent women who told her to do what she wanted in life and not let anyone get in her way (McMahon). Her grandmother was and independent woman who worked for herself and provided a good example that woman did not need a man to make it in the world. Chopin?s mother taught her from childhood that she should always depend on herself and no one else. Also, Chopin and Pontilier were avid readers of books about everyday women gaining their freedom. Chopin read books such as Little Women, an 1876 novel about the lives of four sisters growing up during the American Civil War and Jane Eyre, an 1874 novel about a small, intelligent, and passionate orphan girl who struggles greatly on her way to freedom and independence . These books influenced her to make her novel The Awakening have a feminist viewpoint. Additionally, both women were married unprepared for the restrictions that went along with married life. They were used to being free and making their own decisions before marriage and were surprised at what was expected of them of society as wives. Kate Chopin defied society in many ways. She smoked cigarettes, questioned the Catholic church, loved to read and write a... ... middle of paper ... ... Awakening was regarded by critics as ??vulgar, unwholesome, unholy and a misappropriation of Chopin?s exceptional literary talent.? ? The English Department of Bowling Green State University. After many years of criticism and questioning The Awakening was finally given the respect and recognition it deserved. Kate Chopin had many influences throughout her life that made her become the feminist writer she was when writing The Awakening. Edna Pontilier was created as a feminist because of influence of others on Chopin?s life, personal experiences and the enforcement of societal expectations placed on Chopin during this time. Both women defied society to obtain freedom and independence in a society where women were objects, not people. Without the influences in Kate Chopin?s life, Edna Pontilier my not have been the dynamic character she was during the novel.

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